Archive for March, 2005

Judicial oligarchy knows more than people on the death sentence

SCOTUS (the Supreme Court of the US) has decided that it is cruel and unusual to apply the death sentence to criminals who under 18 but OK for those older. They even cited some international sources to rationalize this bit of bench legislating.

This decision is not long after they asserted the court’s supremecy over the legislature when it came to deciding the sentences for criminals.

In order to protect this expression of the powers of the judicial oligarchy, Senator Byrd was citing Nazi’s in his effort to condemn anyone who though there should be a majority rule in the matter of advice and consent in the Senate.

And then there is the Terry Shiavo death sentence being mangled by court processes and judicial orders.

It seems that we should empty the prisons and not incarcerate anyone. Oh my.

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King wants to bring the study of economics down to his level

The complaint is that advanced mathematics is a required subject for study in advanced economics programs. Mathematics is to blame for grievous errors in economic theory. The subject is too fuzzy for such rigor. It is used for hazing and hubris.

The raising of the mathematical bar in graduate schools over the past several decades has driven many intelligent men and women (perhaps women especially) to pursue other fields.

it is not surprising that mathematics fails to explain differences in the average standard of living across time and across countries.
[Arnold Kling. An Important Emerging Economic Paradigm. TCS 2mr05]

To say that mathematics fails to explain something is like saying that English fails to explain something. Mathematics is a language used to express ideas. Its value is in its rigor and its ability to reduce ambiguity in expression. To consider mathematics as the source of an explanation is like trying to say that the fact the plays were written in English explains the popularity of Shakespeare.

The idea that raising the bar eliminates certain players and that having a raised bar is a matter of hazing is an argument with no relevance. Think about it: you want to lower the bar as a means to reduce errors?

The steps in learning algebra and calculus are those of an educated mind. No one should have a high school diploma without a good understanding of algebra and no one should have a college degree without a good understanding of calculus.

Standards do tend to winnow the population. This is why they exist. Knowing the language of objective thinking is a standard that should not be lost in education.

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sanity in higher ed?

Kate. at Small Dead Animals (1mr05) notes an instructor who demonstrated that the ‘anti fast food’ propaganda is opinion and not fact. As a contrast to the lawsuits and publications that try to prove that eating at McDonalds will make you fat, Les Sayers went on a McDonalds only diet. He not only lost weight but also reduced his blood pressure. Links: Les Sayer news article at canoe c.omInstructor’s home page

The point is that your eating habits are your own responsibility. Those who try to blame their problems on others are often lacking in intellectual integrity by promoting an imbalanced and lopsided view of their supposed antagonist. And, finally, market forces do make an impact which is why McDonalds purchase of fresh apples has risen dramatically in recent years as its customers seek ever better nutrition.

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